Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on university deferral rates and student switching – May 2020

education||0
Sector:Education and Labour Markets
Client:University and College Union
Published: 20 May, 2020
Document type:Report 
Tagged: analysis of economic developments economics of education education EU forecasting higher education impact assessment international quantitative analysis UK

As part of our ongoing work with the University and College Union on university finances, London Economics commissioned YouthSight to survey undergraduate applicants to assess the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on UK higher education enrolments.

We asked respondents two questions about attitudes towards deferral – one relating to a ‘business as usual’ scenario – and the second scenario providing a potential illustration of the nature of higher education provision in September 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Supposing that the university you have applied to or received an offer from will be operating as usual in Autumn 2020. In other words, all classes are in person, and there are few if any social distancing restrictions or limits on university activities or student life …….. to what extent would you still intend to go to university in Autumn 2020?

The likelihood of attendance was estimated to be 86.7%

  • Suppose that the university you have applied to or received an offer from announces that it will not be operating as usual in the first term in Autumn 2020, with many classes delivered online, most university activities severely restricted, and many Covid-19 social distancing restrictions still in place …….. to what extent would you still intend to go to university in Autumn 2020?

The likelihood of attendance was estimated to be 72.0%

In other words, the likelihood of deferral amongst UK-domiciled students was approximately 17% higher as a result of the pandemic

In order to understand the extent to which some universities might be negatively affected by the ‘stabilisation cap’ and changes in student preferences, we asked respondents about the extent to which they might consider changing their higher education institution as part of the Clearing process. The analysis suggests that the likelihood that prospective UK-domiciled students would consider switching provider during Clearing stands at approximately 25%. This provides an indication of the ‘availability’ of UK and EU-domiciled students that would be subject to the stabilisation cap and the approximate level of minimum market ‘support’ existing during Clearing (75%).

 

Media coverage of the report:

France 24: “What future for universities? Coronavirus upends higher learning” (video interview)

The Telegraph: “One in five students could opt for gap year if universities not back to normal”

The Guardian: “UK universities facing £760m hit as one in five students plan to defer”

Reuters: “Breakingviews – Corona Capital”

Greenock Telegraph: “One in five students could defer going to university due to Covid-19 – poll”

The Spectator: “Covid-19 update: Cancer deaths, A&E and the lockdown effect”

Daily Mail: “Is this the future of life on campus?”

Arab News: “Universities must adapt to survive in post-pandemic world”

Residential Landlord Association: “What will September bring for student landlords?”